Scrap is more than just metal. It’s a term used to describe all those recyclable materials that are left over from manufacturing and consumption. It’s metal, plastic, paper, glass, electronics, tires and rubber, and also textiles. The challenge with scrap is that these components need to be separated from each other so they can be transformed into new materials.

Shields’ American made magnetic separators play a vital role in scrap recycling. Our products ensure that every piece of ferrous scrap metal from the smallest shaving to large bulk pieces makes it into the recycling stream where it can be turned into one of the nation’s most valuable commodities.

How big is the scrap industry? In 2013, there were nearly 138,000 scrap recycling jobs in the United States. On average, these jobs page about $69,500 in wages and benefits to American workers! These jobs not only involve the processing scrap material into new products but also the firms that supply machinery, trucks and services to processors.

Scrap industry at a glance:

  • Scrap facilities are located in every state in the country.
  • Scrap recycling generates nearly $87.4 billion in economic benefit to the U.S. annually.
  • The scrap recycling industry accounts for 0.55% of the nation’s total economic activity.  That’s on-par with the cosmetics, milk, and aircraft engine industries.
  • Scrap recycling generates $4 billion in state and local revenues annually. Additionally, $6.3 billion in federal taxes are paid by industry employers and employees.
  • Scrap is one of the nation’s largest commodity exports: In 2012, US recyclers exported $27.8 billion worth of scrap materials to 160 countries!

Ferrous metal fast facts:

  • In 2012, the ferrous scrap industry was valued at more than $30 billion; more than 55 million metric tons of ferrous metal was recycled.
  • The U.S. processes enough ferrous scrap metal by weight to build 25 Eiffel Towers every day of the year.
  • The U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of ferrous scrap; more than 20 million metric tons, valued at $9 billion was exported to more than 90 countries.
  • 570 million metric tons of ferrous scrap were consumed globally in 2011.
  • Using ferrous scrap rather than virgin materials to manufacture iron and steel reduces CO2 emissions by 58%.
  • The U.S. recycled nearly 12 million cars in 2011, supplying more than 15.5 million tons of shredded scrap!


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